Oped by Alex Cornell du Houx, President of Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA), former State Representative (ME), and former Marine combat Veteran.

April 30, 2021

Along with President Joseph Biden’s  commitment to reducing climate pollution by 50 to 52 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, the Earth Day Climate Summit confirmed to the world that America is serious about the climate crisis and our committed partnerships. As the world’s largest carbon emitter, having China at the table is an important step to working together for the future of the planet.  Forty world leaders participated in the Summit, which clearly showed that tackling the climate crisis can unite the world and focus leaders on a common peaceful mission. 

President Biden has used his first one hundred days in office to deliver on his promises to prioritize jobs, environmental justice, clean energy investments, and climate solutions. His accomplishments will help tackle the climate crisis and accelerate our transition to a just clean energy economy. 

On Wednesday evening, President Biden delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress, making it clear that he means business when talking about climate change. Finally, we have a president who is committed to bold action in combating the climate crisis. Not relying on China to build wind turbines, advanced batteries, and electric cars strengthens our security and highlights the central theme of his agenda – “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

The cost of building out solar and wind power has dropped 85 and 49 percent in the last decade. Global investment in new fossil fuel power of hundreds of dollars is being dwarfed by the $282 billion in renewable capacity. If America does not tie fighting the climate crisis with boosting our economy and creating jobs, we will fall behind the rest of the world. On the flip side, investment in the American Jobs Plan will create jobs and allow the U.S. to lead the world in clean energy and climate solutions.

To keep peace abroad and show true leadership we need to face our own systemic racism. The President has created the Justice40 Initiative that will deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits from federal investments to support disadvantaged communities and address historic environmental injustices. 

Our national security depends on the President’s order that each federal agency must develop a plan “to increase the resilience of its facilities and operations to the impacts of climate change.”

As someone who has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world, Biden’s order that made the climate crisis a central consideration in all foreign and national security decision-making was a strategic long overdue step. I’ve seen the dangers of climate change as it relates to water security, migration, and infectious diseases that do not respect political boundaries. It was important to see, during his speech, how he highlighted climate change as an issue the world can unite around. Despite recognizing China and Russia for their autocratic actions, combating the climate crisis is an issue that can unite the world.